traditionally, regardless of orientation the australian suburban block is longer than it is wide. typically, dwellings are built to the side boundary setback in order to maximize the floor plate along its length. the result is often a feeble connection to the rear yard rendering it the bastion of the weekend BBQ and resulting in poor solar access, inefficient circulation and suffering from a lack of natural ventilation. further, in the absence of a panoramic view, as is the case with this house, the result can leave one feeling walled in, constrained and disconnected. the architectural ‘parti’ for ‘house frances’ in freshwater, sydney by THOSE architects is primarily to consider the relationships between the fundamental components of a dwelling to each other and to the broader context of the site.


garaging is deliberately provided separate to the house, providing a buffer from the climate and busy road

 

 

australian based practice THOSE architects‘ ‘house frances’ is extremely efficient in its use of space, circulation and energy consumption. at slightly over 200 sq. meters, the dwelling proves that luxury lies not in lavish size but in the relationships between spaces both internally and externally. ‘the house demonstrates you can live well irrespective of the size of the house. it’s about being efficient and considered with the space, rather than seeking size for its own sake. we consider the entire site to form part of the footprint of this house, it is in affect a 600 m2 collective series of indoor and outdoor spaces’, says THOSE architects director simon addinall of the project.


a subtle curved concrete awning signifies the entry to the dwelling and introduces a softness to the entrance

 

 

in plan, the dwelling comprises three parts: a central living and dining space bookended by private quarters, one end for the residents, the other for guests. these are afforded visual and physical access to private courtyards and gardens in varying configurations to create borderless relationships and facilitate strong linkages between inside and out. the guest quarters can also be shut down from the remainder of the dwelling in order to conserve energy when only the residents are in occupation.


curved forms soften the external material palette of brick and concrete

 

 

formally, THOSE architects’ residential project is a direct extrapolation of the plan and is subsequently orthogonal in its geometry. a height hierarchy is established between the volumes internally identifying the living areas from the private quarters. a high ceiling with a sweeping curve abolishes any hard junction with the wall in the main living space drenching it in daylight and signifying it as the primary volume within the dwelling. a deep concrete shelf adjacent frames the courtyard, provides weather protection for the oversize sliders and blocks summer sun whilst allowing it to penetrate deep into the living space in winter. elsewhere, deep window and door openings are carved out of the solid form framing views throughout the house and capturing vistas of the garden beyond. whilst the form follows an orthogonal plan, a subtle curved concrete awning signifies the entry to the dwelling and introduces a softness to the entrance.


stone walls protect the bedrooms from the street and provide separation from the home entry

 

 

beyond, spaces are connected by a central ‘circulation spine’ running directly east/west through the house with the front and rear entry doors directly opposing one another. two sliding doors located at either end of the main living space allow this spine to be dissected. this reorients the east/west circulation north/south and facilitates a thoroughfare between the main living space and the primary north facing courtyard. garaging is deliberately provided separate to THOSE architects’ house, providing a buffer from the westerly sun, cold winter winds and busy road.


primary living spaces spill onto a central north facing courtyard


internally, soft hues and warm timbers offer a subtle contrast to the external materiality


views into, out of and around the site are restricted, enhancing the experience as you move through the home


a deep concrete ledge allows winter sun deep into the home whilst blocking the harsh summer sun


deep openings are carved out of the solid form, framing views throughout the house


the main bedroom opens onto its own private courtyard

 

 

designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

 

edited by: apostolos costarangos | designboom

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